New Educational Program Aims to Inform Women About Blood Clots

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The Vascular Disease Foundation and Spirit of Women Join Forces to Initiate a Public Education Program Targeting the Prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis or Blood Clots in Women

Throughout a woman's lifetime, the risk for DVT and PE varies depending on where she is in her lifecycle, her hormone levels, and if she has a family history of clotting disorders

Many American women have a common vascular disease that few have heard of – deep vein thrombosis (DVT), or a blood clot in the deep veins of the legs. A clot can break loose and travel through the heart to the lung arteries causing a potentially fatal condition known as a pulmonary embolism (PE). The Vascular Disease Foundation (VDF) has formed a collaboration with the Spirit of Women Health Network to promote the health of women who suffer from, or are at risk for DVT and PE.

The partnership is the result of a one million dollar grant recently awarded to VDF from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This five-year cooperative agreement involves the development and implementation of a public education program about clotting disorders directed specifically to women.

“Throughout a woman’s lifetime, the risk for DVT and PE varies depending on where she is in her lifecycle, her hormone levels, and if she has a family history of clotting disorders,” said Anton N. Sidawy, MD, President of Vascular Disease Foundation. “Spirit of Women is a member of our Venous Disease Coalition, and will be a great partner to create and implement this public education program targeted to prevent DVT in women.”

DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in the large veins, mainly of the lower limbs. Although DVT itself may not be life threatening, it may lead to PE. PE occurs when the clot breaks loose and becomes lodged in the lungs obstructing the pulmonary artery or its branches, which supply blood to the lungs to be oxygenated. If the clot is large enough and completely blocks the pulmonary artery, it can be fatal. According to “The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism” as many as 50 percent of the cases of DVT are silent, with minimal or no symptoms.

Few women know what DVT or PE is, how to recognize the symptoms, or how to talk to their health care provider about prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Even health care providers may not be aware of the “evidence-based practices for identifying high-risk patients”, according to the Surgeon General’s Call to Action.

Certain individuals may be at greater risk for developing DVT, but it can occur in almost anyone. Risk factors or triggering events that are more likely to affect women include pregnancy and the six to eight weeks after giving birth, the use of birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, cancer and its treatment, and major surgery among other events.

“Adult women make over 80 percent of all household health care decisions,” according to Tanya Abreu, President and National Program Director, Spirit of Women. “Partnering with VDF to develop and roll out this important public education program at our annual signature event, Spirit Girls Night Out, will be highly valuable to our hospitals and the people they serve.”

About Spirit of Women
Spirit of Women is a national network of leading hospitals dedicated to improving women's lives with innovative health and community programs. Spirit of Women Hospitals touch the lives of millions of women each year through the presentation of educational events, consumer membership programs, annual conferences, marketing communications and grassroots efforts to improve the health and well-being of women everywhere. Spirit of Women enables participating hospitals to focus on community needs while providing the strength of national support. Visit .

About the Vascular Disease Foundation
The Vascular Disease Foundation is a national, nonprofit, public education organization dedicated to fighting vascular disease and improving the vascular health of Americans by increasing awareness of the prevention, diagnosis, and management of vascular disease. It has been a leader in disease awareness and advocacy through its Peripheral Arterial Disease Coalition and Venous Disease Coalition. For more information, visit or call 888.VDF.4INFO (888.833.4463).


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Christa Saracco

Melissa Neal
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